The changing seasons can conjure up many different thoughts and feelings. After a winter stuck indoors, wearing your biggest jackets, and possibly indulging in one too many slices of pizza, it can feel like a shock to your system when you suddenly realize that the days are getting warmer and the clothes are getting fewer.
Luckily, with nicer weather come more opportunities to get out and get moving. It’s time to shake off the cobwebs and get ready to amp up your healthy habits. Here are five ways you can spring clean your routine this season for a healthier, fitter, more energetic you.
1. Cut the fluff.
If you’ve ever tried to deprive yourself of all things delicious, you probably know that it doesn’t work out in the long run. That’s because life is all about balance and too much or too little of anything isn’t sustainable. As the days get warmer and we begin to engage in more outdoor parties and backyard BBQs, it’s easy to get a little too caught up in the fun. It’s okay to indulge every now and again, but it’s important to remain mindful of your eating habits so that you don’t enjoy your favorite foods to the point of excess. This is one situation where it’s totally acceptable – even encouraged – to play favorites. If you’re going to indulge a bit, make sure it’s something that’s worth it to you. Otherwise, cut the fluff and those pesky last five pounds will finally disappear.
2. Mind your BLTs.
“Bites, Licks, and Tastes,” that is. Ever wonder why it seems odd that the scale is increasing but you can’t remember having any large amounts of food? What may seem like a little bit of something here and there may actually turn out to be the difference between losing and gaining weight. Before you know it, that small piece of your friend’s dessert or the “treats” you partake in post-dinner will have a big effect on waistline. Having a bite, lick, or taste of something that you enjoy is healthy; having multiple bites on a consistent basis is not.
3. Pair your carbs with your workout.
It’s fair to say that most of us love carbohydrates. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of Americans lead sedentary lifestyle — especially during the week. While carbs are what your body needs for a quick source of energy, there’s only so much room to store it. The excess carbohydrates that we consume are therefore stored as fat. So if you’re going to have a sandwich for a late lunch, it may be helpful to work out afterwards. The rest of the day you should fill up on proteins, healthy fats, and veggies. In other words, consume carbs closest to your workouts to burn them and not sit on them.
4. Use the longer days to your advantage.
Sure, it can be difficult during the short, cold days of winter to find the time and energy to be active. But luckily, the spring and summer seasons find the time for us. With the days becoming longer and the sun staying out later, there’s now more time than before to fit in a physical activity. If your mornings are hectic, a good alternative may be to go on a night walk — and bring your spouse or kids with you. Walking improves your blood pressure, reduces insulin levels, improves sleep, and burns calories. A win-win.
5. Leave pre-gaming for the sports anchors.
With warmer weather, we often find more opportunities to socialize. Whether tailgating for a baseball game or simply getting together with friends, we tend to find more opportunities to eat out when the weather is nicer. Just remember that these activities don’t have to involve eating before your main meal. Instead of chowing down on some appetizers or snacks, focus on the main course. When we eat full, well-balanced meals, we’re ultimately left satisfied.
The springtime is about fresh starts and a renewed goal of being active. There is no reason to limit your social life or give up the things that make you happy – just keep in mind that there are plenty of opportunities to make healthier choices while having fun.